Close the BIG Deal - Use the PIG Principle
By: Vince Poscente
of peak performance in sport parallel closing the BIG deal in
business. One of the greatest long term benefits for business that I
gained from my experience as an Olympian is how to achieve superior
results from a simple, yet profound approach - the PIG Principle.
The big challenge in sport is being able to perform at the highest
level when it counts the most. In speed skiing, each qualifying
round meant more pressure, more stress and more of an opportunity to
choke. Time and again, we found, when stress was too high and
mismanaged, that the results would be negative. It became clear that
the challenge was to find the opposite to stress and we could set
the stage for positive results. I found the answer in the most
In the year prior to the Olympics there was one World Cup race that
had particular importance. If I did well, I would guarantee a spot
on the Olympic team. If I did not do well, I would jeopardize my
chances. The pressure was on and I knew what I had to do.
Fortunately, I managed to qualify for each round, working my way to
the finals. In the final run I made the decision to "bullet" my way
down the track. I imagined my body the shape of a bullet, slicing
through the air with speed and power.
I looked at the starter and he said, "go". He then clicked his
stopwatch to count down from 60 seconds. In speed skiing there is a
100-meter speed trap at the bottom so the athlete can choose to
leave any time he wishes within the 60-second window. I checked the
windsock at the bottom of the track and it showed no crosswind. I
picked my line and started to recoil my body and explode out of the
start area. Suddenly, about 10 feet away, two people started to
argue. The instigator's nick-name was Pig. The argument quickly
escalated into a screaming match.
I could not believe what was going on. Here I am, in the start gate
and Pig was being a royal jerk. Before long, I took my attention off
Pig and back to the task at hand. "That's right," I said to myself
"forget about Pig. I am here to race. I am a bullet. That's right. I
am a bullet." With my focus back in check I looked back at the
starter and he stared back with an odd blank stare. "I am ready to
go", I thought to myself. So, I gave him a bit of a dirty look,
which said, "Well?" Then, he rolled his eyes, looked back at me and
spoke three surprising words while holding up the stopwatch... "I
said go" he replied with a smirk.
I forgot the clock was ticking down. Before I knew what was going on
I took off down the track. In three seconds I was up to 60 miles per
hour. I started to talk out loud to myself. "Get focused!" 80 miles
per hour. "I am a bullet." 100 miles per hour. "I'm a bullet, I'm a
bullet, I'm a bullet, I'm a PIG, I'm a PIG...." At this point my
mind seemed to go into slow motion. "Where did that come from?" I
wondered. Then I started to laugh. Well, wouldn't that be
something... a pig on skis. The more I laughed the more I made
myself laugh. Suddenly I found myself crossing the speed trap and I
stood up to slow down, still laughing about this pig thing.
Then it hit me. I had a shot at breaking the national speed skiing
record and I blew it. I was a pig. At the finish area I will never
forget what I saw. The national record was 126 miles per hour.
Flashing on the board was my name and the speed 130 miles per hour.
A new record... my highest world cup ranking ever... and I was a
The valuable lesson I learned from this was that I was having fun.
Pure, blissful fun sets the stage for peak performance. I have since
made it a choice to have fun each and every time I go into a
negotiation, a sale or any activity that requires my best.
Jim Loehre, reputed sport psychologist and corporate consultant,
draws a wonderful analogy. Imagine that you are going to enter a
negotiation tomorrow morning at 10 am. If you close this deal, it
could mean to you $100 million dollars. This deal would secure your
financial future and for your generations to come. Now, it is 9:59
am the next day. What is your stress level? HUGE! What do you think
your chances of closing the deal are if your stress is out of
control? The opposite of stress is fun. And fun will open the door
for the results you most desire. Your quest, like that of every
Olympic athlete, is to find a way to have fun in pressure
As odd as the Pig story is, its effectiveness is profound. On your
next big sale or negotiation, be prepared and have fun. The results
will astound you.
- Copyright © 2002 by Vince Poscente. All rights reserved.